Statewatch article: RefNo# 37182
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.9.16)
Statewatch News Online, September 2016
- Turkey denies protection to returning Syrians (euobserver, link):

"A migrant swap deal with Ankara is progressing well despite returning Syrians being denied guaranteed protection status in Turkey, says the EU commission.

EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Wednesday (28 September) that "adequate standards" were in place for those returned under the March deal.

But earlier in the day, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said not a single Syrian returned from Greece has been granted any temporary protection status, despite the "formal guarantees" under the EU's deal with Ankara.

"As we speak today, none of the Syrians that have returned to Turkey have got temporary protection," Vincent Cochetal, UNHCR's Europe director, told this website."


- EU's secret ultimatum to Afghanistan: accept 80,000 deportees or lose aid (Guardian, link):

"Memo leaked in advance of Brussels aid summit reveals EU plans to make assistance to Afghanistan ‘migration sensitive’ despite security concerns.

When international donors and the Afghan government convene in Brussels next week, the EU secretly plans to threaten Afghanistan with a reduction in aid if the war-torn country does not accept at least 80,000 deported asylum seekers.

According to a leaked restricted memo (pdf), the EU will make some of its aid “migration sensitive”, even while acknowledging that security in Afghanistan is worsening.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government is also struggling with internal turmoil, and has failed to revive the economy or produce jobs for the young who leave the country in droves.

It would be challenging for Afghanistan to absorb 80,000 deportations. So far, in 2016, about 5,000 Afghans have returned voluntarily from Europe

The EU said in the leaked memo that it is “aware of the worsening security situation and threats to which people are exposed” and that Afghanistan is suffering “record levels of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties”.

The memo added: “Despite this, more than 80,000 persons could potentially need to be returned in the near future.”

An EU official said in an email: “We don’t comment on leaked documents.” He added that the EU and Afghanistan have a “constructive dialogue” on migration."
[emphasis added]

Based on a document made available by Statewatch: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted doc no: 6738-16, pdf).

- European Commission: EU-Turkey-Greece-Italy-returns-relocation

- EU-Turkey deal: The Commission is today reporting on the progress made on the EU's relocation and resettlement schemes and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (Press release,pdf)

- EU-Turkey deal: Third Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (COM 634-16, pdf)

- EU-Turkey deal: Implementing the EU-Turkey Statement – Questions and Answers (pdf) includes:

"What is the state of play as regards visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens? As regards the implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap, the Second Report of 15 June 2016 described seven benchmarks that remain to be met:

- issuing biometric travel documents fully compatible with EU standards;
- adopting the measure to prevent corruption foreseen by the Roadmap;
- concluding an operational cooperation agreement with Europol;
- revising legislation and practices on terrorism in line with European standards;
- aligning legislation on personal data protection with EU standards;
- offering effective judicial cooperation in criminal matters to all EU Member States;
- implementing the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement in all its provisions."

Still negotiating.

And: "there are still shortfalls for both EASO and Frontex experts for the period of September to December 2016."

Also: "Since the Statement entered into force, there have been 578 returns from the Greek islands to Turkey, including 53 Syrians. Other nationalities returned have included Pakistanis, Afghans, Bangladeshis, Iranians as well as people from Iraq, India, Congo, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Nepal, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority."
and:

For returns to Turkey: "Frontex has mobilised the following resources for the time being: 1 ferry - 5 buses for transportation from the hotspots to the ports - 1 charter plane - 56 Frontex escort officers."

- Sixth report on relocation and resettlement (COM 636, pdf)

- Annex 1: Relocations from Greece (COM 636, pdf):

Commitment legally foreseen: 63,302: Pledges: 9,776 and Pledges effected: 4,455.

- Annex 2: Relocations from Italy (pdf) Commitment legally foreseen: 34,853: Pledges 3,544, Pledges effected: 1,496

- Annex 3: Resettlement in the EU (pdf)

- Management of the Migration Crisis in Greece since October 2015 and Implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement since 20 March 2016(pdf)

Includes general; charts on: Registration rates (now said to be 100%), Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVR): 582 in August 2016, Hotspot capacities, Deaths in Aegean (said to be 11 post EU-Turkey deal 18 March) and returns to Turkey (1,078 post 28 March 2016).

- European Commission: Schengen border checks: Report on the application of Council Implementing Decision of 12 May 2016 setting out a Recommendation for temporary internal border control in exceptional circumstances putting the overall functioning of the Schengen area at risk (COM 635, 28.9.15, pdf):

"The present report contains the findings of the Commission after monitoring the manner in which the current temporary internal border controls are carried out, as foreseen by the Council Recommendation. It focuses on whether, as recommended, the reintroduced internal border controls by the above Schengen Member States have been limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate in light of the serious threat to public policy and internal security posed by the persistent risk of secondary movements of irregular migrants entering via Greece and who might move to other Schengen Member States. It also analyses whether the circumstances have changed so as to require an adaptation of the Council Recommendation." [emphasis added]

See also: Back to Schengen: Commission proposes Roadmap for restoring fully functioning Schengen system (pdf, March 2016 , pdf)

- Greece: Another 70 People Deported To Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"On September 26, Greek authorities returned 70 people from the Greek island of Lesvos to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal.

According to official information (link in Greek only) from the Hellenic government, the group included “70 irregular migrants” – 51 from Pakistan, nine from Sri Lanka, seven from Algeria, and one each from Morocco, Turkey and Afghanistan. All are men.

Out of the total, 63 did not seek asylum in Greece, whereas the remaining had their asylum claims withdrawn or rejected....

Altogether, 578 people of different nationalities have been returned to Turkey from Greece under the EU-Turkey deal."


- Migrant Arrivals in Mediterranean Reach 302,149; Deaths at Sea: 3,501 (IOM, link):

"Italy - IOM reports that 302,149 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 25 September, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy.

By comparison through first nine months of 2015, a total of 508,347 arrivals were recorded crossing the Mediterranean – some 206,000 more than in 2016 thus far."


- Greece: Chios residents plan rally as frustration over migrant crisis mounts across Aegean (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Chios residents plan to hold a protest rally Wednesday demanding immediate measures to reduce the number of migrants on the island. Along with other eastern Aegean islands, Chios is engaged in an uphill struggle to cope with the increasing number of migrants and refugees. The total number of people stranded on eastern Aegean islands now stands at 13,863."

- The EU’s new offer to Africa (euobserver, link):

"As with the original European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main plank of the Juncker commission’s economic policy, there’s not much hard cash behind the initiative.

The investment vehicle will be based on a €1.5 billion guarantee from the EU budget, and a further €1.85 billion from the European Development Fund and EU budget. It will subsume the existing EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, which has paid out more than 90 grants to infrastructure projects since 2007.

At a time when European governments are seeking to increase their deportation rates, the fund is a bid to sweeten the pill on tackling migration to their African counterparts."

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